The Astros have a familiar face returning to the starting rotation.
The Houston Astros open this week with a very important series against the division rival Texas Rangers. The Astros have had a lot of success against the Rangers this year, winning six of seven matchups this season including three of four in the last home series in the first four days of May.
After a stint on the 10-day disabled list because of a shoulder injury, right-handed starter Joe Musgrove will try and set the tone for the series Monday against Rangers ace Yu Darvish. This will be Musgrove’s first start since May 26th against Baltimore in which he threw seven shutout innings, giving up only four hits and striking out six batters in the 2-0 win.
In his first start off the disabled list, Musgrove will have to face a Rangers team that he struggled with on May 4th. In the Rangers only win against the Astros this season, he gave up five runs, four earned, on five hits, including a Rougned Odor solo home run, in four innings pitched, walking three and striking out five.
A look at Musgrove.
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One of the main strategies for Musgrove is pretty simple; keep runners out of scoring position. When the bases are empty, he has been solid, with a 1.91 ERA. Even with runners on first, he has been even better, with a 1.46 ERA with a 1.38 WHIP. However, when it comes to runners in scoring position, Musgrove struggles.
Even though both his WHIP and batting average against declines, his ERA skyrockets to 14.92. The lack of runners in scoring position is why Musgrove was successful against the Orioles in his last start, allowing opponents to second base three times, but never to third.
Another one of the main strategies Musgrove is going to have to keep an eye on is his success with two outs. Two outs is normally when opposing hitters do the majority of the damage against the 24-year-old right-hander. He has a 9.92 ERA with a 1.90 WHIP and a .347 batting average against. Also, he has given up five of his nine home runs this season with two outs.
"Astros: Another starter hits the DL in Lance McCullers"
Must get Astros off to a good start vs. Texas.
Musgrove has had success against the Rangers before. In his first career start at the major league level, he gave up an earned run on five hits; striking out six in the 5-3 Rangers win. However, he has become so much more hittable this season, with a 1.42 WHIP with a .289 batting average against in his first ten starts of 2017.
After his disabled list stint, Musgrove will look to build on his last start against the Orioles Monday when he faces the Rangers for the second time this season. He will replace McCullers on the 25-man roster.
***Stats provided by FanGraphs and MLB.com***